A Long Weekend In The Pink City, Jaipur

A Long Weekend In The Pink City, Jaipur

The Jewel of India, Jaipur – a long weekend in the Pink City. I wanted to share my amazing journey and the inspiration behind Pink City Living with you….

Day 1

We chose to stay at the Dileep Khoti, a beautifully appointed family home of the Erstwhile Royal Family of Barli, right in the centre of Jaipur, with lovely en-suite rooms and private spaces filled with family photos and art work. We had a very friendly welcome and particularly enjoyed our breakfasts in the grand dining room. www.namilhospitality.com

The iconic Hava Mahal – a great place to start exploring! A brilliant photo opportunity in the heart of the Pink City and some shopping at the bustling market stalls alongside, gave us time to acclimatize. I’ve got a beautiful print of this in my living room, so it’s got a special place in my heart! 

We found some amazing sites inside the City Palace walls. We ducked the expensive Royal Palace ticket so we missed seeing the ‘blue room’ but got some stunning photos all the same and enjoyed the rich history, including ancient art, clothing and textiles on display, belonging to the Maharajah. 

Our empty tummies took us for lunch at Anokhi, a lovely café selling healthy bites and soup, where you can also buy beautiful block printed clothes and fabrics. www.anokhi.com A really great place for inspiration and lots of ideas for how my business could grow!

In the afternoon we visited several textile merchants, unearthing wonderful fabric gems, room after room of tableware, bedding, rugs galore, so we were glad that we’d left plenty of room in our suitcases for all our wonderful finds. Beware of the 7kg hand baggage allowance on Spice Jet! You really can see why India is the fabric heart of the world. 

After a busy first day, we headed to the wonderful Johri Bazaar district of town in search of dinner. Dodging motorbikes and tuk tuks, exploring the back streets and seeing monkeys swinging precariously from electricity wires, we discovered this little jewel in the city, hidden away, The Johri hotel. This is a great place to indulge in a sophisticated cocktail and some divine spinach paneer. www.thejohrijaipur.com We felt at home here and this became a real favourite during our stay.

Day 2

The next day we made an early start for our drive out of town and the climb up to the Amber Fort. There are stunning views of the city beyond the fort walls and we got a lift from one of the majestic elephants. A very special memory. 

Panna Mena Ka Kund, the Step Well – this is an amazing feat of engineering, to allow the gathering of water from the well, whatever the water level. We found this on the way towards the Amber Fort. So ask your guide, as it’s easy to miss. 

Jal Mahal, the floating palace was up next, as we’d seen it on our drive out of town – we made a quick pit stop here on the way back into Jaipur. It’s quite a spectacle looking onto the tranquil Man Sagar lake, that surrounds it and thinking of the hidden levels of palace that lie beneath the water. 

Patricka Gate, this was on our bucket list and is a fabulous, colourful gate way to the city, so is definitely worth a stop to admire the craftsmanship and truly vibrant colours. We were amazed how they’ve lasted the test of time. 

And after another long day amongst the colourful, vibrant, bustling city it was off to Bar Palladio for a glamorous cocktail and dinner under the stars in the prettily lit gardens. Don’t forget your mozzie spray! www.bar-palladio.com

Day 3

A highlight for me! Now for our day of block printing in a small village an hour outside of the city, with the wonderfully talented artisans of Jaipur. This was my favourite day by far, my happy place! 250 artisan families all working from their homes, as part of this true heritage craft. What an honour it was to see the craft men and women at work and for them to impart some of their knowledge to us. We learnt such a huge amount about the wooden block carving, the intricate printing, the dying, drying, washing process, and I have the bruises to show for it! The thud technique used to stamp the block onto the fabric is not for the faint-hearted! 

Energised by our crafting endeavours, it was back into Jaipur city centre. We just took a moment to be mesmerized by the total cacophony of noise and city traffic and to marvel at all the modes of transport available! 

Then off to the beautiful sanctuary of Samode Haveli for lunch, allowing us a few hours respite from the hot, bustling streets. This is somewhere to stay on the next visit, as it had beautiful gardens and a swimming pool where we found many travellers reading books and enjoying some much needed downtime. www.samode.com 

Not a moment to waste, so it was off to visit more fabric shops and let’s not forget the gem shopping! Molto Bello Gems had a fantastic selection, showcasing hundreds and thousands of beautiful gems. It was hard to resist! www.moltobellogems.com

There wasn’t much down time on this trip, as we had so much to pack in, so it was a very quick 20 minutes back at our hotel to charge devices and freshen up, and then a very welcome dinner and a drink at Jai Mahal Palace, Marble Arch, sitting on the veranda overlooking the palace lawns. www.tajhotels.com What better place to be! 

Day 4

Day 4 and we set off early morning to avoid the midday heat, and took a walk along Bapu Bazaar, where you’ll find shop after shop selling kaftans, scarfs, skirts, linen, leather goods, jewellery and more… a great few hours for last minute shopping and gifts. Don’t be afraid to haggle! 

More fabric hunting, and then some return visits to all of our favourite finds throughout Jaipur. So it was back to The Johri for dinner on our final night, and hilariously being pulled into a wedding celebration of dancing and music and having red bindi applied to our face! A real festival of colour! 

Memories and friendships to last a lifetime. Thank you Jaipur for inspiring me. 

The Pink City is etched on my heart!! 

Follow me, Jess Aldridge  @pinkcityliving www.pinkcityliving.com 

Beautiful handcrafted tableware, soft furnishings, & unique items for you and your home, made by talented artisans. 

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